Home > The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3)(5)

The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3)(5)
Author: Elise Kova

   “I sent a good friend of mine to her, just to help see things set up properly on Ter.0. After all, Florence is the one who got the Vicar Harvester to call the Tribunal.”

   “There’s to be another Vicar Tribunal?”

   “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Louie massaged his knees and Arianna wondered if they ailed the man. She could only speculate about his age . . . but he must be well into his forties, practically ancient for a Fenthri. “Children who have never even stepped foot on Ter.0 will be caucusing there for the first time to determine the fate of the world. Reminds you of the old days, doesn’t it?”

   “Take me to her, to Florence.”

   “I don’t think you’re in much of a position to make demands, Arianna.”

   “You were willing to make a deal before.” She had to speak his language, stick to safe territory, stick to business.

   “Give me access to the schematics for the Philosopher’s Box and I will take you anywhere in this wide world you want to go. Even back up to Nova.”

   “Florence,” she repeated firmly.

   “The box?”

   He was relentless. And even though Arianna knew the answer, she asked the question anyway. “Why do you want it?”

   “Reasons that I think should be obvious.”

   And they were.

   There was a time when he who owned the gold owned the power. But such a time was ending. Now, Loom and Nova stood on a new precipice, an age where power came from those who could manufacture weapons in the shape of people that bled gold. There was abject disgust at the notion that she would help usher in such an age.

   But it was an age Loom had been headed toward since the first Chimera. If it hadn’t been her, it would’ve been someone else.

   “If I agree, you’ll take me to her?”

   “You have my word.” Louie put his hand over his vested heart. “It’s bad for business if I go back on my deals. Plus, we both have far, far more to gain by being friends.”

   “If I agree, you’ll do as I say?”

   “Within reason.”

   She settled back against the harvesting table, looking at him with narrowed eyes. She had to get something out of this, for the time being. There was no possible way she’d give Louie unrestricted access to the Philosopher’s Box. For as long as she could manage, she’d regulate who knew what.

   “On Nova, there is a flower for the Lord of Luck. This flower has four petals . . .” Her voice trailed off for a moment and Arianna thought back to her night with Cvareh on the island. She wanted to feel the same anger she felt toward him previously, but it was already weakening into an uncomfortable question: What are we? “Be my Lord of Luck here on Loom and grant me four wishes. Four things, whatever I design to help the rebellion, to help Loom, in the coming months. And when we are finished, you will have your schematics.”

   “I’m not a Dragon.” Louie chuckled. “I think what you seek is a boon.”

   “I actually already have one of those. So I suppose you could call me a collector of sorts . . .” Arianna spread her lips and barred her teeth like a ravenous Dragon. “Plus, a boon is only one wish. I want four of you.”

   “You ask too much.” He ran his fingers over his lips. Arianna could practically hear him thinking through the admission of her holding a boon.

   “You ask for the power to change the world—to make you richer than ever before, and ten times as formidable. I ask you to honor four favors.” She managed to shrug against the tight restraints. “Seems more than fair.”

   Louie stood, pulling his chair away from the door. “Very well, Arianna, you have your deal.” He reached for the door latch, clicking it open. “We shall leave at dawn for Ter.0, and your Florence.”




   The skies above the floating islands of Nova were always peaceful. Even when his heart was heaviest and his mind in turmoil, the unhindered wind and free cries of the wild boco traversing its currents evoked a sort of calm. There wasn’t another flyer anywhere around him, leaving the Xin’Ryu mostly to his thoughts.

   Dawn began to seep between the stars—a melancholy hue that marked the end of Lord Xin’s hour and the start of Lord Rok’s.


   The mere thought had Cvareh looking over his shoulder. Far in the distance, hazy with the wisps of the God’s Line, was the ghostly silhouette of the Rok Estate. He squinted against the darkness, pushing magic into his eyes and piercing the shadows, but another boco was nowhere to be seen.

   He had split from his sister, Petra, to allow her to make a distraction while he went in search of Arianna. What sort of distraction Petra had in mind, he couldn’t fathom, and now he wished he’d had an idea. Cvareh looked forward again.

   His sister would be waiting for him back at the Xin Manor.

   The isle of Lysip grew before him. It was a familiar shape. Cvareh knew every cut of the mountains and every switchback that wandered through its rolling jade hills, down into the great city of Napole at the far end.

   But there were no festivities in Napole, no flame dancers on rooftops or revelers pouring wine until the bottles ran dry. As Cvareh rode his boco, Saran, as their shadows cut across the city below him, he was staggered by the quiet. This was a city in mourning, a place where men and women had lost family, loved ones, to the tyrant known upon their wide world as Yveun’Dono.

   Cvareh tightened his grip on his boco’s reigns. There was no bottom to the depths of Rok depravity, and in that endless pit was where they had found the will to poison the wine and bring an abrupt, dishonorable end to the Xin and the Crimson Court. While none could pin the act on House Rok, it was known. Cvareh could almost feel the truth being whispered behind tightened shutters and on the shuddering rasps of mourning lovers.

   Roks may have weakened them, but in the same act, had provided House Xin with all the rationale and motivation ever required to stage a rebellion.

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